Summer Doe

Cute Doe Mule DeerNot finding much wildlife these days, the sun comes up so early and it is already hot by 8:00 a.m. By this time most of the wildlife has retreated to the cool of the dense forest… and out of view for this photographer! There was one doe today, pausing to enjoy the lush mountain grass which has grown tall and green from all of the rain and snow we’ve had this year. She cast a wary eye in our direction but continued to feed between furtive glances. Each time I waited for her to look up before snapping a picture… pictures of an animal with it’s head in the grass make for a pretty boring subject. I was hoping a few more of the beautiful wildflowers would show brightly, but it is what it is.

Cute Doe Mule Deer

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Brown’s Canyon National Monument

Brown’s Canyon National Monument is another one of Colorado’s hidden gems… almost too well hidden! I’ve been wanting to visit this place for years, ever since I missed the day of hiking with the Sierra Club. Well I finally did it ๐Ÿ™‚ I was in the area photographing rafters on the Arkansas until finally I found myself in Salida. What the heck, the park is just on the other side of Salida so I consulted my phone for directions and headed up 291 in search of the entrance… piece of cake ๐Ÿ™‚

Arkansas River in Brown's Canyon National Monument

Not a piece of cake. You would think that being a national monument there would be huge signs everywhere. But no… no signs anywhere ๐Ÿ˜ฆ Totally passed it by, drove all the way up 291 until I finally hit Johnson Village and had to turn back around. At that point I decided to let my GPS guide me in and managed to find the place, County Road 191 to the east from 291 will take you right in… after a couple of miles on a curvy dirt road over a ridge. When you finally do get there you will be greeted by a big sign with some of those fee envelopes and a $8.00 per day use fee. So I paid my fee, dropped the envelope in the box and went on in.

There is a large parking area and a campground along the Arkansas River where the

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rafting companies were all ready to pick up rafters. I grabbed my camera and trusty trekking pole and headed down a trail along the river towards the south. The original plan was to mountain bike back in but it didn’t take long to ascertain that the trail was above my meager riding skill level so I just hoofed it in a ways. The trail and the river are amazing and the area is vast. I imagine you could easily hike for days and not see it all.

 

By this time it was really hot and dry and I was not at all prepared for a long hike so I just turned around and vowed to hike up the other direction for a while but quickly abandoned that idea too and chalked the whole visit up to a successful scouting mission for a longer visit on another more prepared day.

On my way back through Salida the Soulcraft Brewery looked like the perfect answer to my parched throat and worthy of a stop ๐Ÿ™‚ Tried the Dopple Bock brew and it was delicious. Being short of time I didn’t try any food, and didn’t really see anyone else eating either. I assume they have food there, but would have to be something for another day as well.

Cute Doe Mule DeerWas hoping to photograph some more rafters along the Arkansas on my return trip, but by the time I was passing by again the rafting was all over for the day. Nothing but the long drive home to look forward to at this point.

If you are a fly fisherman the trail along the river is an awesome place to visit! For hiking though, I’m not so sure. There are no high peaks to scale and except for along the river it appears that there are a lot of miles of parched land to explore. It appears to me that the Continental Divide Trail passes through there on it’s way to the Collegiate Peaks near Buena Vista and there are miles of fun to be had for moderately skilled mountain bikers and a lot of rocky cliffs for rock climbers to hone their skills on! And I didn’t see many in the heat of the day, but I imagine there would be a ton of wildlife to photograph early in the morning.

 

 

The Fawns

Mama Deer and Fawns

Today’s trek turned out to be extra special due to a rare fawn sighting ๐Ÿ™‚ As I neared the turnaround point in the out and back part of the trail I saw movement in the mountain grass. At first I thought it was going to be a fox or maybe a coyote but as I looked through my long glass I discovered that it was a little fawn mule deer. Soon a second baby appeared followed by the mama who immediately spotted me and stopped for a long suspicious stare. The babies soon gatheredย  close to their mother for protection and joined the vigil. Eventually they decided that I was not threatย  and continued along their way as I hid behind a tree using a branch to steady the camera. I stayed until they were out of sight, capturing this cute scene of the two little ones in tow ๐Ÿ™‚

Mama Deer and Fawns

I love springtime in the mountains with all the new life and it is my sincere hope that through my pictures others will come to appreciate life in all it’s precious beauty and fragility and gain an understanding of the importance of preserving it for future generations to enjoy.

 

Eleven Mile Canyon Fiasco V2

Go to Eleven Mile Canyon they say… “It will be fun!” ๐Ÿ˜ฆ So I’ve been thinking about Eleven Mile Canyon for six years now. Tried to go one other time on a whim, went past a sign near Florissant that said Eleven Mile Reservoir. After a few miles of horrendous washboard dirt road and ugly Pike National Forest desert wilderness I finally gave up. Came to a sign pointing back to Florissant so I just took that turn for a few more miles of teeth rattling, shock absorber busting washboard road ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

Today’s plan was much better. Using Google Maps I located the correct turn off of highway 24, which was actually in Lake George. Sure enough, Forest Service signs pointing to Eleven Mile Canyon on CR 96 and the promise of miles of pristine flowing water of the South Platte Headwaters. Unfortunately if you stay on CR 96 it just becomes CR 244 which leads to the same butt busting washboard roads that the one from Florissant leads to with no pristine flowing river in sight anywhere ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

Herd of Mule Deer Bucks

Eventually I did see a sign at a turnoff that said “Eleven Mile Canyon” 5 miles. Took the turn and saw another sign with little pictures of a dirt bike, an ATV and a Jeep. Stopped short and looked over the single lane Jeep road and decided to call it a day. I knew I had to be getting close to Guffy though so I just kept going on the road I was on hoping for imminent delivery onto the paved 112.

A couple of miles later I came to a T in the road, one way to the reservoir and the other to Guffy.ย  I did actually drive the two miles west to make it to the reservoir this time and managed to get this picture without having to pay to get into the state park, which by this time I was in no mood for ๐Ÿ˜

Eleven Mile Reservoir in Summer

As a bonus I saw the above nice looking buck mule deer hanging out in the wilderness of the Pike National Forest. He had a couple buddies but they quickly talked it over and decided I wasn’t a welcome addition to their little club and took off. I got a few shots of them running away but nothing worth bothering to process in Photoshop.

Now that I’m home looking at the map more closely I can see the error of my ways and may give it another shot some day.

One Deer and Wildflowers

Deer in the Rockies

Pretty quiet morning on the trail… Saw one lone deer peering back at me from a field of wildflowers and rocks. We were far enough away so as to not cause any alarm and were able to get this nice shot ๐Ÿ™‚ No more wildlife was seen on the trek, but there are a lot of nice wildflowers blooming. Don’t know what these yellow ones actually are, I’m no flora and fauna expert for sure… but they look nice and make for some nice pictures ๐Ÿ™‚

Also got to try out my AllTrails.com hike logger on my new Verizon phone. It’s only a

Mountain Wildflowers

Samsung J3 but I like it OK. Was extremely disappointed with my previous phone that didn’t work at all in the mountains. So I successfully recorded today’s hike and was rewarded with a cool map and elevation profile. Haven’t figured out how to share it yet though… maybe the information will only be for myself. But still pretty cool even though I’m not sure what it is going to be good for ๐Ÿ™‚

As always these images and more are available for purchase on my website as wall art on glossy metal or acrylic sheets, stretched canvas or traditional framing and matting. Tons of cool gift, tech, apparel and household items are also available with a #swkrullimaging picture!

Mountain Wildflowers

 

Elk in the Sunshine

These elk appear to be having a relaxing morning! I saw them grazing on the mountain

Elk Herd in the Wilderness

grass near the edge of the dense pine forest. For some reason they saw me but did not retreat into the safety of the trees, but slowly walked along the edge of the wilderness while I snapped away using my big 400mm Canon lens. Usually they disappear like ghosts into the forest the moment they spot me. This was my favorite one with the rugged snow capped Sangre de Cristo mountain range in the backgroundย  ๐Ÿ™‚

Elk Herd and the Sangre de Cristo

As always, this image and more are available on my website as wall art on glossy metal or acrylic sheets, stretched canvas and traditional framing and matting. Cool household, tech and gift items are also available with #swkrullimaging artwork on them! Click the link if you want to see more!

Happy Herd

It has been a long time coming but we finally have leaves on the aspen trees in the high country. Of course it was only last week that I was still scraping snow and ice off of my windshield before the trip to the trailhead! Well, it was a beautiful sunny morning on the trail today and the wildlife certainly seemed to be enjoying it. The deer have been living off of the parched dry mountain grass all winter and now they have aspen leaves and dandelions to make life a little better for them.ย  I wasn’t able to get very close today but this distant shot of them at the edge of the wilderness should give you the idea of the joy that summer’s annual sojourn is delivering ๐Ÿ™‚

Deer on the Rocky Mountain HillsideAs always this picture and more are available on my website as wall art and cool gift items! Click the link if you like!